Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Memories

As Christmas approaches I hope you have your sewing projects completed, shopping done, gifts wrapped and groceries purchased! Since my children are grown and I'm still a few years away from grandchildren, our Christmas traditions have changed since little feet pattered into the room to see what Santa brought. We still gather, eat, exchange gifts and play games with the emphasis more on family time since my children live in another state. Christmastime brings memories of times past as the ornaments made with once tiny hands are placed on the "family" tree as well as the hanging of Hallmark ornament representative of each personality.

Christmas sewing was always a big deal for me and my daughter. She always selected her fabrics and would look through my magazines, books and patterns to find the "perfect" dress that no other child would have for the school Christmas performance and church services throughout December. Oh the memories involved in the creative process!!!

Double collared smocked bishop on a basic yoke dress-short sleeves for Southern Christmas temps.[caption id="attachment_973" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Double collared smocked bishop on a basic yoke dress-short sleeves for Southern Christmas temps.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_979" align="aligncenter" width="590"]Smocked clothing can be worn anytime! Smocked clothing can be worn anytime![/caption]

Merry Christmas and many happy memories!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fired Up!

Typically this time of year you have to be "fired up" to get everything done...this week I have literally be "fired up"!

As I approached my studio Monday afternoon, I smelled smoke but thought maybe the neighbors were burning trash. As I opened the sliding glass door to enter, I saw SMOKE! Thank goodness hubby dear was working at home so after a panicked run back to the house to get him, we quickly shut everything off in the fuse panel and I started grabbing projects needed for Christmas orders! I called 911 and my neighbor (so she wouldn't freak out) and then she arrived and suggested we start pulling fabric outside. Ignoring the dispatcher's advice to stay out of the building, we pulled "big mama" (my Brother 600 PR) and the other 3 machines outside. Then with another panicked thought, I grabbed my smocking templates notebook and started to retrieve all my Australian Smocking magazines before my husband stopped me when the fire chief arrived. After finding no hot spots (they used this machine to do this, was interesting to watch) he suggested I call an electrician. My sweet neighbor and dear hubby helped carry all the machines and fabric inside the house. Husband took down the twin beds in the guest room (they only had box springs anyway, the mattresses went to the duck camp) and temporarily set me up to work on my projects in the guest room.

save the Australian Smocking!
The next morning electrician declared the window heat/air unit the culprit. (I was concerned that I had too many machines plugged into the same outlet/s. Although I use serge protecters on each outlet I use a lot of electricity between the coffee pot, radio, iron and typically 3 machines going at a time.) Today dear hubby has already bought and replaced the window unit. Did you know bowls of vinegar will remove odor? Thanks sweet neighbor for that suggestion!

Hopefully will move back in the studio on Saturday and regain the momentum lost this week! Check your plugs....don't have too many things in one outlet, especially with all the Christmas sewing done this time of year. I've literally been "fired up"! Hoping all your Christmas projects are going smoothly!

Merry Stitching!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Beautiful Bubbles!

As I said, I have been busy making flower girl dresses but have had to wait to post them until after the weddings!

I suggested using "Frockstar" from Australian Smocking and Embroidery to the bride that wanted a more modern approach but to wanted to incorporate smocking into the flower girl's dresses.  A perfect marriage of the two, in my opinion, was the Frockstar pattern.

Lawson Bubble Dresses

The skirts are sewn to a shorter length slip style underlining with tulle sandwiched between to provide ample "poufiness" to give the perfect bubble silhouette.  In lieu of a sash, the maid of honor helped to choose organdy ribbon featuring roses to add the color palette of the fall wedding to the girls' dresses.


Lawson Bubble smocking

The smocking was done on a straight piece of fabric, then marked, cut and stitched to a round yoke.  Based on a template using half spaces, the smocking was done rather was all the gathering of the skirts that took the most time!

Lawson Bubble Back

Each ivory batiste sateen dress was finished off with a row of 5 antique buttons, found during an antique excursion with my daughter while in Birmingham, were aged to an off white finish that was perfect for the dress color.  Each button was the same size, but not all were exactly alike...a unique finish!

I adapted the pattern to include side seam pockets at the bride's request to match the pockets featured in her wedding gown.

Lawson Bubble Single

Kind of hard to see the pockets....which was my objective....without actually having hands to model them!

The flower girls each looked adorable...

Lawson bubble

and looked "bubbly" beside the bride and groom!

Lawson wedding party

This pattern was very easy to follow and I enjoyed the challenge of something different.  I want to try a "play" dress like the pattern suggested.

Happy Stitching!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Wedding Smocking

I've been rather busy lately with custom orders for fall weddings!  I just love creating heirloom quality flower girl dresses.  The bride requested long dresses for two flower girls for her Nov. 2 wedding date.

After several consultations and much discussion, we decided on a basic yoke dress with a smocked skirt that would be floor length.  The dresses were made from white batiste as well as the matching slips.  I personalized the slips with a small monogram and finished the yoke edges of the slips with a scallop stitch prior to attaching to the skirt.

Walicek Wedding Slip Detail


A small piece of insertion was added to the shoulder seam of the slip (after cutting too much off..oops) and will probably be one of my trademarks since it looked really good!

Walicek Wedding Slip Insertion



The smocking design came in a vintage Oliver Goodin pattern I had used numerous times for my daughter when she was little. We decided to use ivory thread to match the bride's dress and I added small seed pearls after smocking inside the 6 cables that stacked to form the pattern.  This was the perfect contrast to the white dresses! The puffing effect in the center was formed after pulling the gathering threads.

Walicek Wedding Detail


Ivory lace was gathered and added to white beading for sleeve detail.  Ribbon was threaded through the beading  from each side and tied in the center of the sleeve and tacked down prior to sewing the sleeve seam.

Walicek Wedding Sleeve


Ivory batiste sateen was used for the piping, bias neck binding and covered buttons.

Walicek Wedding Dresses Back


A deep hem was put in to allow the little girls to wear them for several years.  I think the bride was going to keep one dress for her future children.  A really great idea!

Flower girls


I think they turned out beautifully!

Happy Stitching!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Sleepy Owl Quilt

Although I love quilts, I usually spend more time on children's garments and smocking.  That is until recently....I was asked to do a custom quilt for a nursery.  This wasn't just any nursery though, it was for a very good friend and neighbor's daughter in law.  It was going to be a quilt for their first granddaughter and first child and daughter for her daughter in law.

Thank heavens for technology !  We were able to create the quilt to fit into the nursery with pictures snapped and sent via email and our smartphones to decide exactly what style quilt would suit the mother-to-be.  She selected her fabrics and sent them back to mother-in-law (my neighbor) and that is where I come in!

I used crib measurements to decide on the quilt size.  The mother-to-be requested that the quilt not "tuck" into the sides of the crib but lay against the edge of the mattress.  (After all, that's just more bulk around the baby)  She has beautiful ruffles on her mattress cover anyway, (made by mother-in-law) why cover them up?


Next I drew out the measurements on graph paper and decided on which block size to use that best replicated the pictures of quilts that she liked best.  After counting and making a list of how many of each size block I needed, I labeled each block  on my graph with a number and letter.  For example, if I had 4-4x4 blocks, they were labeled A1,A2,A3,etc.

This is the part I love !  I got to color!!! I used colored pencils to color in my blocks to replicate my fabric choices prior to actually cutting to make sure I didn't have two like fabric choices next to each other.  It also gives me an idea of coherency (is that a word??) with the color selection.

Then I cut out each fabric based on my list of block sizes and the number in my list and appliquéd the sleepy owl on the center block. Next they got laid out in the floor just like my drawing.  A quick visit from my neighbor to verify that everything looked "a-ok" before I started sewing the blocks together!  I left the blocks in the floor and picked up each block one at a time to stitch them together in rows, then laid them back down once stitched.

After completing the top, I laid the backing down wrong side up and lightly sprayed fabric adhesive onto it. After laying the batting down very carefully, I sprayed it and slowly unrolled my top blocked piece onto the batting.  I took the time to hand baste the layers together to assure no shifting then used the "stitch in the ditch" method to quilt around each block on the machine.  The binding was added and hand stitched while I watched tv at night.

Williams Owl Quiltviola!  The sleepy Owl Quilt!

I'd love to hear about any nursery quilts you've done!

Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kewpie Cuteness



Isn't she the cutest thing ever?  The pattern came from Australian Smocking and Embroidery magazine and has been a favorite of my student, Ann Greer, from the first time she laid eyes on it.

After several smocking lessons and tutorial sessions (even a few "rip that out before you go on" sessions) she has not only mastered smocking but pleating as well!   We had many "oohhh this fabric would be pretty in...."  and "is this the right color ribbon" discussions together and just  sharing the progress with show and tell.

Kewpie Cute


Her great grand baby's blue eyes match the outfit (and the bow-yes it has to be big, we're from the South) perfectly!

from Australian Smocking by Ann Greer Great job Mrs. Ann!

Get inspired from my STUDENT SHOWCASE!

Happy Stitching,




Monday, October 7, 2013

Sparkling Snowflake Smocked Ornament

Have you ever had one of those creative moments when things just come together?  Well, I did last week while preparing for my smocked Christmas ornament class at Couture Sewing Center in Macon, GA.  Yes, I had everything completed, packed in my bag and my list of "to-do's" completed. Then that lightbulb went off  and off course I went!

Tartan Ornament

This was the proposed and advertised project.  All I needed was some foam board to make something for my students to block their project on.  A trip to a local Hobby Lobby was required...that's when I totally veered off the chosen project.  I found some cute glass Christmas beads that are strung for a bracelet. Not for me...I wanted to use them as "Dingle Danglers"!  As I told my class my story of inspiration and the cause of a different project from what they signed up for, a definition of a "dingle-dangler" was needed amidst a few confused looks.  You see, a "dingle-dangler" is something that dangles from the end of something.  So I swiftly came up with a new smocking template, instruction packet and more kits for this new project.  Lynn, owner of Couture Sewing Center, and all my students LOVED the new project complete with my new "dingle-dangler"

Sparkling Snowflake

See the snowflake dingle-dangler?  What do you think?

Kits for both projects may be purchased from my webstore on my site for $14.  If you'd like a completed Sparkling Snowflake Christmas Ornament or the Tartan Christmas Ornament they will be available by the end of the week for $24.  Supplies are limited so place your order soon!

Happy Stitching,



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Baby Gifts...the Rewards of a Sewist

Isn't it always worth all the time and planning as a sewist to see your results on a beautiful baby?

Several months ago I posted a "Perfectly Pink" featuring a pink batiste bubble with coordinating Anna Griffin "scraps" I won at Martha Pullen's School of Art Fashion last year.  Recently I received a picture of the recipient, finally big enough to wear the gift!  I always appreciate a picture of the child wearing my garment so I can add it to my gallery.  Thanks Annette (the proud grandmother) for sending it!  We know she is proud!

Harlee in bubble


I used Michie' Mooney's  pattern, which is one of my favorites, to smock a sweet bubble.

What are some of your favorite patterns?

Happy Sewing,



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tea Staining for a Vintage Look

I am working on a custom order for a Christening gown and the trims the client selected only came in white so I did a little research and decided to give tea staining a whirl......


Tea staining result

I think it turned out beautifully!!!!  The before and after makeover :)

First I started with a HUGE pot. (This is my jambalaya pot but it is also good for this project!)  I filled it 1/3 of the way with water and added 12 tea bags and set it on the stove to heat to just before boiling. I didn't let it boil because I didn't want the tea bags to burst and have tea granules in my water.



While this heated, I took a large, plastic bowl and filled it partially with water and a couple of Tablespoons of white vinegar.  (I didn't measure precisely, just a splash or two:))



Lay a towel out to absorb the liquid without "wadding" your trim or fabric. Get a pair of tongs and you are ready to begin.

I tested a small piece of each of my trims prior to dumping the whole lot of it into my tea.  In my case I had Swiss insertion, edging and entredeaux. I set the timer on the stove originally to 2 minutes and checked it to see if it was the right shade after drying it.  It wasn't so I dunked it again and left it for longer.  Turns out 3 minutes did the trick for my particular shade this time.




I also decided I needed a larger, more absorbent towel so I grabbed a bath towel for the next dunking.

A little scary dropping 5 yards each of that expensive trim into a pot of tea.....



A little gentle stirring to ensure all parts of the trim were covered,

DSC_0089and then I removed it from the tea and doused it into my bowl of water/vinegar solution to set the "stain".  (Amusing since usually I'm trying to get the stain out....sorry no pic on this step)  I let it sit about 5 minutes before moving it to the towel to blot it gently.

Blot gently


I then painstakingly ironed it while wet to further set the color and make sure after it dried it was still the color I needed and didn't need redoing.

DSC_0092I cut a piece of leftover foam board and began to wrap the trim around it as I ironed so it didn't wrinkle from pooling on the floor while I worked with the wet end. ( ironing board looks terrible;/ might be time for a new one!)


DSC_0093It took very little time to do all three trims, most of it was spent ironing, but now I'm ready to begin the project!

Tea Staining with fabric



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Collegiate Burp Cloth Winner!!!!

Congratulations Terry Walker Meadows!  You are the winner of the burp cloth giveaway!!

Email me at for delivery information.

I haven't figured out how to do the rafflecopter, etc that I know are available so I did it the old fashioned way, cutting strips of handwritten names and having the hubby draw a slip!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Collegiate Burp Cloth Week-TENNESSEE!!!!

Collegiate TN













GO VOLS!!!!!! My team!!! Saved the best for last!!!

Little Miss Smokey is rooting for her team with a korker

pom pom and checkerboard hairbow.  Room for initials or

TN-burpclothgirlname on the burp cloth in Collegiate font.  Orange and

white micro check cotton with grograin football ribbon trim.  Matching hair bow is $5 extra.







Smokey Football Player for the boys!                                TN-Burpcloth-boy

He is carrying a football and waving an orange and white pennant.  There is room for name or initials in Collegiate font that are included in the price.







I've enjoyed my week of College team burp cloths.  If there is a team you'd like to have a burp cloth for, email me and I'll see if I can get your team!

Be sure to check out my store for future smocking, heirloom quality clothing and other appliquéd garments and gifts made by "Ney Ney"!

Itching to Stitch!




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Collegiate Week Burp Cloths-Georgia

Collegiate GA

Go Dawgs!!!! for all my Georgia friends and fans!!!


Love the red and black chevron trim!  Room for personalization, either name or initials.










And of course Dawg cheerleader for the girls!  The hair bow is an extra $5.  She sports a ribbon on her head and is shaking a korker ribbon pom pom!  There is also room to personalize this cloth with either name or initials in a Collegiate font.






Fall and football coming up!!!





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Collegiate Week Burp Cloths-Alabama

Today is Alabama day at Ney Ney's Stitches!

I guess the proper thing to say is

"ROLL TIDE" (please don't tell my husband)
Collegiate AL


Since my future daughter-in-law is a big

Tide fan he'll have to get used to it but for now we'll keep it quiet:)

This week I'm opening my web store on my Ney Ney's Stitches site!  There will be many more items to follow....


I have an elephant girl with korker ribbon pom poms and hair bow.  A baby's hairbow on AL-burpcloth-girl

an elastic headband is an extra $5.00

The sale is only applicable today, tomorrow it will go back to regular price!






The Alabama boy burp cloth is also available    today for $19.99 with personalization in AL-burpcloth-boy

collegiate font.  All burp cloths ordered today will be shipped by the first week of September.

Pay pal is accepted in my store.


Check it out!







Monday, August 19, 2013

Collegiate Week Burp Cloths-Auburn!!!


Collegiate AU

Today marks the first day of the collegiate week burp cloth sale in my new webstore!







Machine embroidered Auburn tiger burp cloth with korker ribbon pom-pom and cute orange bow.  The popular chevron trim and room for personalization will make a perfect gift !  The stuffed tiger also has a korker ribbon sewn into her paw and a navy polkadot ribbon on her head.  She is an extra $5.00.

As I was photographing all my burp cloths, I had the stuffed tigers laying in a pile on the floor next to my back drop set up.  Maggie ( my Maltese) decided to take one to play with while I wasn't looking.  Needless to say when I realized she had stolen one, it only had one eye left and an ear torn off!  Lesson learned...



The boy tiger is also on sale today. AU-burpclothboy

The stuffed tiger is holding a felt embroidered football!  It is also $5.00 extra.


Pay Pal is accepted.

Email with any questions.  Subscribe to my blog so you don't miss other SEC teams!


Thanks for looking!



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Collegiate Week Burp Cloths

collegiate week













I've been hard at work appliquéing team burp cloths for the upcoming SEC football season!!!  This week I'll be premiering a team each weekday.  Check back each day for your team!  If I don't have the team you cheer for, I can see if it is available.

This is all in celebration of my web store opening!! Thank you Dennis for your help getting it set up!  I'm excited about being able to showcase all my handiwork right here on my website.  Subscribe for a daily email of my blog post so you don't miss any tutorials, posts or this week your team burp cloth.  They are great to purchase in advance for baby showers, Christmas or birthdays.  I have learned that it is better to have something handy, I never seem to have the perfect item when the occasion rolls around so I like to stockpile!

Orders placed this week will be ready for delivery by the first week of September.

Have a great week!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reversible Playsuits for Boys

I discovered a great pattern for making playsuits this week.  The pattern I used is a Bonnie Blue Designs named Hunter and Holly.  It was relatively easy to cut and construct AND I made it reversible !!! Much more bang for your buck!!

Dino Playsuits-brothers

It really started because I didn't want to cut my 60" white broadcloth that I use for inserts for lining and I was out of any other width white fabric.  So... I thought why not use something colorful?  So I selected a coordinating fabric that actually cost less than my heirloom quality broadcloth and look how cute it turned out!

I machine appliqued two different dinosaur patterns I downloaded from  Just Peachy Applique and Planet Applique.


Dino Playsuitbaby-detail



Dino Playsuit BBdetail






In hindsight the only thing I'd investigate the with the next project is putting grippers on the infant sizes.  Whoops!  This was given as a baby and big brother gift for a friend at church.  Sorry for the total undressing of the babe to change a's been 20+ years since I had to worry about that and totally forgot!  I was so involved in correctly pulling the lining through to stitch that it slipped my mind completely until I went to the ironing board to press and by that time my thought was I'm NOT ripping it all out!

Dino Playsuitbaby

I do like the way it turned out and love the way the contrasting cuff looks when you roll it up!  Another plus since all babies and toddlers vary in height!  This suit is a 6 month size but with the roll up cuffs can be worn for a long time.







Dino BBplaysuit




Big Brother's playsuit in a 24 coordinating but not too "matchy-matchy" (as my daughter disdains).  After all the baby will eventually wear it as well so something a little different for later wear.  The patterns are generous in size.




If Mom so desires them to be "match-matchy" she can because they are reversible!

Dino PlaysuitsbabyreversedDino Playsuits BBreversed






I also used several buttons at varying lengths on both sides of the straps for growth adjustment!








I'm thinking of doing a tutorial on buttonholes and button application.  Would that be useful?

Let me know what you think of my "Dino" Project!  I'm already sewing several more....Collegiate, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.....just can't stop thinking about all the potential projects!

Happy stitching,